82 Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London (in America), to Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister
Cablegram 20 WASHINGTON, 8 May 1939
PERSONAL MOST SECRET
Have had long interviews with the President and all his principal advisers on foreign questions.  In these conversations, I have specifically raised the question of reactions and attitude of the United States Administration and public towards any aggressive move by Japan in the Pacific Ocean, particularly in the event of Britain at the time being involved with Germany and Italy and unable to send the necessary naval forces into the Pacific to contain Japan. The attitude was the same in every case, though expressed from a different angle, namely that the United States would regard any move by Japan as inimical to the United States' vital interests and the Administration would be forced to intervene and in doing so would have the support of public opinion. They all agreed that United States public opinion is much more alive to the menace in the Pacific and would be more receptive to action there than in regard to the European situation. Sumner Welles emphasised this point down the lines that in regard to European intervention, an expeditionary force would be visualised as consolidating the opposition of mothers of eligible sons, whereas in the case of Japan this general opposition would not exist, only action by the Navy being practicable.
The President was as definite as when I saw him in December that the United States would have to intervene but again stressed the difference in the distance between Canada and Australia as precluding any statement. He strongly urged the necessity of promoting the closest possible relations between the United States and Australia not merely by trade treaty but by cultural and all other methods and asked me to stress to you the desirability of stimulating the maximum tourist traffic even to the extent of supplementing existing lines by special tourist steamers.
Nothing said to me constituted any binding undertaking as to what United States action would be in the event of developments in the Pacific but has great value as showing the mind of the President stirring his principal advisers.
My conversations were of the most personal character and it is imperative that the above information should be kept most secret and not referred to in any case.